By Mike Nwokoro
DR. Reuben Abatiâ€™s articles in The Guardian published especially on Fridays and Sundays are always a delight to read, digest, assimilate and kept as a veritable reference material because of their sound editorial quality, lucid packaging, presentation, objectivity and factual content.
This quintessential journalist and â€œwordsmithâ€ has continued to educate, enlighten and entertain a reasonable number of literate Nigerians, especially the middle and upper strata of our great nation Nigeria, through his writings, debates, speeches and presentations.
In all intents and purposes, Reuben Abati is a serious writer who loathes with passion, praise singing sycophancy or hero worshiping, to name but a few.
His objectivity and penchant for calling a spade a spade cannot be faulted by any rational person.Â It is therefore not surprising that Dr. Abati titled his piece: â€œThank You Doraâ€ on page 51 of TheÂ Guardian last Friday in appreciation of the boldness, and extreme patriotism exhibited by the Honourable Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili, who spoke her mind through a memo to her fellow colleagues at the Federal Executive Council last Wednesday. Her memoÂ was hinged on the need to respect the Constitution in line with the rule of law doctrine of this administration under the leadership of President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua with a view to moving our beloved country forward.
According to Abati: â€œDora Akunyiliâ€™s rebellion and forth rightness is the kind of development that we need for this matter to be resolvedâ€.
No doubt, Abatiâ€™s critical appraisal of the Ministerâ€™s memo and subsequent commendation for speaking the truth based on her sound moral judgement in line with our cultural-cum-societal values are in tandem with public opinion.Â Thus, the credibility and validity of Abatiâ€™s write-up on this national discourse remain unquestionable.
Regrettably, Dr. Kabiru Mato in his article in the Sunday Leadership titled: â€œSensational Doraâ€ failed woefully to state without any ambiguity whether the Minister made a statement of fact or not.Â Rather, Dr. Mato decided to satisfy himself and pursue a personally skewed agenda by inferring imaginary reasons for the memo.
He thus stated: â€œAgreed that the kitchen cabinet is primitive and seemingly lost in the present circumstances, but the action of Dora is simply a confirmation of the opportunist that I have always said she is.Â Dancing to the gallery, trying to secure a position in the event that Umaru cannot any longer make itâ€.
Interestingly, over 90 percent of Nigerians who commented on the Ministerâ€™s action and published by the Sunday Leadership (page 15) exposed the hollow in the personal reasoning and faulty logic of Dr. Kabiru Mato. For instance, Edeh Alexander wrote: â€œHow I wish all Nigerians will emulate this rare virtue.Â She (Dora) has proved that she has a conscience and that the labour of our heroâ€™s past will not be in vain.Â Let us support her and pray for our dear country Nigeria â€.
Similarly, the vox pop on page 16 of the same Sunday Leadership titled: â€œwhat Nigerians, say About Akunyiliâ€™s Memoâ€, completely rubbished the negative perception of Dr. Mato about Professor Akunyili.
One of the commentators in the person of Mr. Ajah Ogwuche wrote: â€œThe truth is that the memo submitted to the Federal Executive Council by the Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyili calling on the ailing President to transmit power to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan is a welcome development â€¦.Â There is no right-thinking Nigerian today or Minister that will foul the action taken by Akunyili.Â Infact, she should be commended for her courage and fearlessnessâ€.
Also, Akin Onifade wrote that: â€œThere is nothing bad in Akunyiliâ€™s memo.Â We are in democracy, everybody has the right to air his or her opinion” .Â Mary Dara said: â€œTo me, Akunyiliâ€™s memo to the Federal Executive Council was the right step in the right Direction.Â She is a woman of courage and substanceâ€.
Prof. Akunyiliâ€™s pedigree and strong moral upbringing ought to have provided the needed guide and informationÂ to Dr. Mato to be more objective as opposed to his outright campaign of calumny on the person of the Minister of Information and Communications.
This is a woman who will tell you that she was born in Benue State and grew up with her grandmother in a village in Anambra State without basic social amenities.Â Dora will tell you that her grandmother and parents have zero tolerance for telling lies, stealing and other anti-social behavioural patterns that are against societal norms.
It is no gainsaying the fact that Madam Doraâ€™s commitment to hard work, honesty, loyalty, patriotism, objectivity and zero tolerance for telling lies in all her career life that she started from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, through the Petroleum Trust Fund under the chairmanship of General Mohammed Buhari (rtd) and her fight in what could be rightly regarded as the lionâ€™s den called NAFDAC as Director-General where she battled drug barons and merchants of fake/adulterated drugs to a standstill at the risk of her dear life is an attestation to the character and sterner stuff of this amazon of our time.
Notwithstanding the different interpretations of the actions of Prof. Akunyili on this present scenario, the fact of the case is that majority of right thinking; rational, patriotic and objective Nigerians appreciate her demonstration of rare courage, truthfulness, boldness, commitment and patriotism.
Dora will always speak out and stand solidly like a rock on the part of truth, in the overall interest of the nation anytime, place or day.Â This is vintage Dora, the Apostle and Generalissimo of the re-branding Nigeria project.